In depth studies

There is a recent in-depth study with samples from mostly urban areas in five European countries: France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy [38].The accident sample for 1999-2000 contained 398 moped and 523 motorcycle accidents. About 70% of the PTW riders took action to avoid the accident, mostly by braking. However, about half of these (i.e. one third of all 921 riders) lost control doing this.


The parts of the PTW that were hit first:

  • 63% at the front (29% centre front)
  • 26% at either side
  • The other vehicles were first hit:
  • 32% at the front (7% centre front)
  • 40% at either side

The report contains lots of information e.g. on the angle at which the vehicles hit each other, on the speed of both vehicles before and at the time of collision. However there is no combination of these elements or separate figures for motorcycles and mopeds in the report.


A report of a German study [41] provides a combination of elements. The sample contains 1029 accidents with injured motorcyclists (excluding scooter types) from 1985-1995. Many riders suffered multiple injuries to different parts of the body. The parts of the body that were injured:

  • 20% of the riders had injuries to the head
  • 21% of the riders had injuries to the upper torso
  • 21% of the riders had injuries to the lower torso
  • 44% of the riders had injuries to the arms
  • 71% of the riders had injuries to the legs

The part of the motorcycle and the part of a car that were hit first, together with the angle are combined as types of collision:

  • 36% no car involved
  • 13% both frontal
  • 7% front of car against side of motorcycle
  • 27% front of motorcycle against side of car (5% at right angle)
  • 4% front of car against rear of motorcycle

Injuries to the leg were more frequent and more severe with frontal collisions. Severe injuries to the head were more frequent with the motorcycle against the side of the car at a right angle.


Otte also showed the trajectory of the motorcycle rider during the accident:

  • 8% thrown from motorcycle without hitting car
  • 20% fell from motorcycle before hitting car/object
  • 18% remained on motorcycle and hit car
  • 50% departed from motorcycle and hit car (6% after being thrown)

More and more severe head injuries as well as leg injuries resulted from being thrown and landing on the car. Injuries to the upper torso were more frequent and severe when the rider fell before hitting car/object.


22% of the accidents were single vehicle accidents. In most of these cases (75%) the rider was injured by hitting the road surface. However, injuries from hitting fixed objects were more severe.


Otte also presented results of a sample of 89 accidents with scooters most of which were mopeds. The results showed more single vehicle accidents than with motorcycles (33% against 22%) and some differences in injury patterns. Since on the average the speed of scooters was lower it is not possible to decide if the two PTW designs result in different injury patterns.


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